A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Albany set to add EV stations downtown

Written May 16th, 2020 by Hasso Hering

These charging stations were at the Albany Walmart, photographed in February 2019.

Pacific Power has offered to give the Albany urban renewal district (CARA) $63,548 to set up public charging stations for electric vehicles downtown.

The proposed grant is a discussion item on the May 20 agenda of the CARA advisory board. The city council, which acts as the city’s urban renewal agency, then is scheduled to accept it.

The CARA board talked about the possibility of adding EV charging stations downtown last year. Since then the city talked with Pacific Power, which provides free technical consulting for EV chargers through its partner C2 Group.

Engineers checked out several public parking lots downtown to see which would best support “multiple charging stations with easy access and minimum expensive upgrades,” a memo to the CARA board says.

Sophie Dykast, the economic development coordinator who worked on this, wouldn’t tell me how many stations were being planned, or where. These details are reserved for the meeting.

The grant means CARA can go ahead without paying start-up costs, such as buying the stations and setting them up. “Charging at these public stations could be managed so that users’ fees cover the cost of electricity and maintenance,” Dykast’s memo said.

Conditions of the grant include that at least one of the stations be of the direct-current, fast-charging kind, that the equipment be maintained at least 10 years, and be available to the public.

The proposed Albany Revitalization Agency (ARA) resolution accepting the grant says charging stations fit the goals of CARA, created 20 years ago to draw more people downtown and thus strengthen its economic life.

The parking slots with the new chargers presumably will have to become off-limits to conventional vehicles. Whether that’s an issue the CARA board and council will have to decide.

But if you’ve been avoiding downtown Albany because there’s no place to recharge your Tesla or Leaf or other electric ride, that excuse may soon be gone. (hh)

14 responses to “Albany set to add EV stations downtown”

  1. Bill Higby says:

    Do the users of the charging stations have the opportunity to pay for this convenience?

  2. Gordon L. Shadle says:

    It would be nice if you would follow the money and report your findings.

    Does Pacific Power receive a federal tax credit for the cost of purchasing and installing these charging stations? If so, how much of the $63k is taxpayer money?

    And does Pacific Power have to transfer any credits to the Oregon Clean Fuel Program after installing these charging stations? If so, how much, and what is the value, of these credits?

    And how does this money from Pacific Power fit into the recent executive order signed by Gov. Brown?


    • Ray Kopczynski says:

      I believe your 1st two points are not relevant whatsoever to the city getting additional charging stations.

      And since the additional stations will allow more & easier charging (by definition), in addition to being paid for by the users, they will allow more folks the convenience & opportunity to use them vs. their fossil-fuel driven vehicles. That comports with the clean air executive order.

      • Rich Kellum says:

        Electric cars are also driven by fossil fuels Ray, that is what provides most of the power in the grid…

        • HowlingCicada says:

          True … but:

          1 – Gradually, grid power will depend less-and-less on fossil fuels, especially coal — economics, not just regulation.

          2 – Even if all the electricity is generated by fossil fuels, the effect of immediately-toxic pollution is less with electric cars because power-plant smokestacks are easier to clean-up than car tailpipes, and further away from densely-populated areas.

          Geeky note, climate skeptics can ignore: CO2 emission (to get a particular job done) is determined by type of fuel (gas, liquid, coal) and efficiency. Power plant efficiency is much better than internal-combustion efficiency in actual car driving. Electric motors, generators, transmission, and batteries are all efficient enough to maintain the overall improvement from eliminating the car’s gasoline or diesel engine. Also, power plants offer some future hope for reducing CO2 emission by “sequestration;” fossil-fueled cars don’t.

          3 – Batteries will improve somewhat over time and get significantly cheaper. Gas engines won’t.

          4 – Since car charging can be done at times of low demand, new capital cost of infrastructure will be much less than for “normal” demand growth (assuming that pricing is done correctly — a political decision, not a technical problem).

          5 – Parked cars can run in reverse to feed the grid at times of peak demand — further reducing the capital cost of infrastructure by avoiding or delaying needless (and very expensive) expansion. Same smart economics as congestion pricing for highways and parking — but this one works everywhere, not just in larger cities.

          6 – For those fools who still enjoy driving, I’ve heard that electric cars are lots of fun (at least the expensive ones).

          • HowlingCicada says:

            Obviously, I meant that the batteries in parked cars can run in reverse, not the cars themselves. (just in case anyone thinks my brain was hijacked by Agenda 21 vapors ;)

          • Hasso Hering says:

            I’m one of those fools who still enjoy driving. Especially compared to the alternative, the misery of public transit in a big city.

          • HowlingCicada says:

            Hasso, I increasingly agree with you about public transit (not about driving). The better alternative is obvious but out of scope here, and will take far too long to fully explain.

  3. HowlingCicada says:

    “”” “Charging at these public stations could be managed so that users’ fees cover the cost of electricity and maintenance,” Dykast’s memo said. “””

    From year-old memory, the price in the Fred Meyer lot (Corvallis) was outrageously high — something like 4 times (per kilowatt-hour) my home rate. The charger is run by a company doing this in many places — not Fred Meyer or Pacific Power. I don’t know if or who is subsidizing whom, and don’t care.

    All I know is that this is a rotten deal. It may even be lose-lose-lose. Obviously the driver loses. Since the charger is very-seldom used, the company running it might not be profitable. Fred Meyer loses a parking slot, though it’s sometimes occupied by someone not charging their car.

    If gasoline had the same markup, it would be $10 per gallon. Gas stations stay in business by servicing addicts (junk food, beer, cigarettes, and lottery tickets), not by selling gas.

    If I’m ever tempted to buy a car, electric would be really nice. But, plugging it in at my apartment would be extremely problematic or impossible. I’d also deeply resent paying through-the-nose just to support the current screwed-up system (at least what I’ve seen of it). There has to be a better way. That could include requiring apartments to provide charging at honest “cost of electricity and maintenance” – which is what they should already be doing for parking instead of making it free.

    • Bill Kapaun says:

      “If I’m ever tempted to buy a car, electric would be really nice. But, plugging it in at my apartment would be extremely problematic or impossible.”

      Go buy a house like the rest of us and see your dream world shattered when you find out about all the hidden taxes to pay for what you expect to get for free.

      Who cares if they charge 4X the going rate. You aren’t forced to purchase.
      What does a tow home cost? Maybe you’d be willing to pay 10X the going rate to avoid it.

  4. Leroy says:

    I’m not to interested in electric cars but electric bikes are interesting. While some say Electric cars are so much better for the environment. Only the rich can afford the most efficient longest lasting models. But little if anything is said about the fossil fuel that generates the power, that charges those battery’s. And absolutely nothing is said of the child labor, used in the Congo, to mine the Cobalt, used to make the batterys, Least I forget the the hazardous material rating when it comes time to recycle those battery’s. Where do you think the fees will go to deal with that? And since those fees will be high it should be included in the price of the vehicle. It won’t be long and road side debris will include those battery to expensive to recycle.

    • Bill Kapaun says:

      Not only is it the rich that can only afford a pure electric car, EVERYBODY that buys electricity in any form is subsidizing the electric companies so THEY can appear “GREEN” by “providing” charging stations.
      I can’t afford to own a car on my limited income, but I’m forced to pay for “fuel” for people far better off than I am through MY electric bill.
      Govt grants? At least some of that comes from the rich. Just not enough.

  5. Bob Bush says:

    I think you are all missing a more important point. In the Pacific Northwest, there are abut 11 coal fired plants. If my old memory serves me right, they are going to be shutdown for good within five years or so. Got that? Shut down. Sink in? No real plans to replace lost power, rolling blackouts, it’s coming. Don’t have enough windmills or solar to replace those plants. While you all are self quarantining, research that on the InterWebWorld…….and think about that every time you flip a lightswitch.


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